Piero Gilardi was born in Turin in 1942. He started in 1965 to create his “Tappeti-natura” (Nature-carpets)—floor installations and wall reliefs made of meticulously molded and painted polyurethane foam that take the form of rocks, plants and a wide variety of nature studies—which brought him substantial critical and commercial success through the ’60s. He exhibited in in Paris, Brussels, Cologne, Hamburg, Amsterdam and New York. He later grew disillusioned with the art world, however, and, by the early 1970s, ceased producing regular art works to engage in the new artistic trends of the late ’60s, Arte Povera, Land Art and Antiform Art. He took part in the first two international exhibitions of these new movements at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and at the Bern Kunsthalle.
In 1969 he started a long trans-cultural experience to conceptually analyze and practice the “Art/Life” combination. He spent the next 10 years traveling in Italy and abroad, writing theoretical analyses of society and culture, the focus of his thinking during this period of civil upheaval. As political activist and animator of youth culture, he organized street theatre, actions and protests in factories, along with several experiences of collective creativity in places such as Nicaragua, Indian Reserves in the USA and Africa.
In 1981 he reentered the art works. In 1985 he started and artistic research project with new technologies with the elaboration of the IXIANA PROJECT (which was presented at the Parc de la Villette in Paris). This work consisted of a technological park in which the public could artistically experiment with digital technologies.
Recently he has been producing a number of multi-media interactive installations and participated in international exhibitions.
At the beginning of 2003 he promoted the plan of the PAV – Parco Arte Vivente (Living Art Park) in Turin is an experimental contemporary art centre, a meeting point and a research facility dedicated to the relationship between art on one side and nature, biotechnology and ecology on the other. The park is open to the public and directed by Piero Gilardi.